DUNSANY, LORD [Edward Drax Plunkett] Two poems addressed to Adolf Hitler, probably written circa
1940, original manuscripts in his flamboyant hand, probably unpublished. The poems with a manuscript covering
note signed ‘D.’, on his addressed notepaper, from Dunstall Priory in England, addressed to ‘Dear Hale’. Both
poems are written on fine quality laid paper watermarked ‘Eynsford’.
In the first poem, ‘Over the Fragments’, eight lines, signed ‘D.’, Dunsany addresses Hitler directly. ‘Hitler, you had
the curious luck to hold / Germany’s civilisation in your hand / If not all Europe’s, like a vase of old / Made by rare
craftsmen in an ancient land. / That were an honour of enormous worth / … But what a pity that you let it drop!’
The second is a curious poem headed ‘One Day at Doorn’, three stanzas of four lines, the page headed ‘To Wish
You a Happy Christmas’, with coloured drawings of holly, signed ‘Dunsany’. ‘Doorn’ evidently refers to Doorn
Manor in the Netherlands near Utrecht, a large country house where the deposed German Emperor Wilhelm II lived
in exile after World War I, from 1920 until his death in 1941.
Dunsany’s poem is spoken in the persona of Wilhelm, addressing another deposed German leader [i.e. Hitler] who
has come to Doorn as a servant. ‘Well! Well! You’ve come! You’ll find the work here light: / No ceremonial, we
live simply here / .. I shall expect you always to be neat / And keep things tidy. Breakfast is at 9. / We lunch at 1; at
half past 12 you eat. / Then you bring tea at 5. At 8 we dine. / My royal sons may sometimes come to call / I’m sure
they will not trouble you at all. / You merely lay an extra place or more / And by the way, why DID you make that
Needless to say, Hitler never came to Doorn Manor. After the Second World War, the house was taken over by the
Dutch Government and is now a museum. A strange pair of poems, possibly written circa 1940. The covering note to
‘Hale’ thanks him for a letter. ‘It will hearten me when the Dean counterattacks, unless he suffers me with Christian
resignation or Russian patience’ (a reference to the ‘Red Dean’ of Canterbury, Hewlett Johnson, a supporter of the
Soviet Union during World War II, whom Dunsany had evidently criticised).
Dunsany (1878-1957) was a prolific writer, whose output included plays, short stories, science fiction and verse. He
had homes in England and Ireland. Perhaps his greatest service to literature was his encouragement of the young
Meath poet Francis Ledwidge in the years before the First World War. [L4BC1 Black File 1921]